Apple-picking season is upon us again, along with the perennial question, “Which orchard should we go to?” It’s a good question because all orchards are not created equal! Here we highlight three places that offer very different picking experiences.
Fishkill Farms: For fall festival-goers
Every weekend through the end of October, Fishkill Farms will be hosting a Fall Harvest Festival, with live music, barbecue and hayrides, in addition to the 40-acres of apples for picking. All of the apples are organic or eco-certified, and the whole place is devoted to sustainable farming. What’s more, the views from this farm can’t be beat! There’s no better place to pick some apples, relax, and take in the crisp autumn air.
Varieties: Fuji, Gala, Jonamac, McIntosh, Spartan
Activities: Hayrides, farm animals, farm store, live music, barbecue and other hot foods for sale, pumpkin patch
Fishkill Farms, 9 Fishkill Farm Road, Hopewell Junction, NY; 845-897-4377
Masker Orchard: For serious apple pickers
If what you’re interested in is straight-up apple picking and lots of varieties to choose from, then Masker is your best bet. While the place does offer some other activities, the real attraction is the 200 acres of orchards. It’s so large that you’re encouraged to drive from section to section. Bring some sandwiches and a picnic blanket to spread right beneath an apple tree when it’s time to take a break from all that picking.
Varieties: Prime Red, Macintosh, Granny Smith, Cortland, Empire, Jonagold, McCowan, Red Delicious, Sparta, Ida Red, Rome, Mutsu, Golden Delicious, Smoothie, Surprise
Activities: Family-friendly haunted house, face painting, apple maze, pumpkin patch, farm store, hot food for sale
Masker Orchard, 45 Ball Road, Warwick, NY; 845-986-1058
Lawrence Farms and Orchard: For those looking to pick more than just apples
The best thing about Lawrence is that when you get tired of apple-picking, you can move onto other fruits and vegetables, including grapes, pears, peppers, eggplant, corn, broccoli, cabbage, kale, turnips and beets. It’s actually a pretty amazing experience to pull a head of broccoli right from the plant! There’s also plenty of fun for the kids, including a play village designed to look like an old-fashioned New England town. This place is especially great for families with young children.
Varieties: Macintosh, Jonamac, Honey Crisp, Gala, Empire, Cortland, Macoun, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Ida Red, Mutsu, Jonagold, Staymen, Northern Spy, Fuji, Rome, Granny Smith
Activities: Play village, farm animals, horse-drawn carriage, hay bale maze, farm store, hot food for sale, pumpkin patch
Lawrence Farms Orchard, 306 Frozen Ridge Road, Newburgh, NY; 845-562-4268
If you’re looking for even more options, including local favorites like Outhouse, Wilkens, Stuart’s, Dr. Davies and Harvest Moon, here’s our past guide to apple picking. By the way, always call ahead to check on availability!